Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Warren Smith, said: “Neesa is a very worthy award winner. They have an inspiring story and it’s both humbling and heart-warming to hear. Neesa helps improve the lives of Asian women in Manchester and is therefore so deserving of this prestigious award, the equivalent to getting an MBE, which champions best practice in volunteering
Neesa Well Women Drop-In Project, a voluntary group for Asian women based in Cheetham Hill in Manchester received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which has equivalent status as the MBE, at a special ceremony at Gorton Monastery in east Manchester.
Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service is a unique UK national honour was created over a decade ago by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers. It sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged to be of the highest standard.
Neesa provides support and advice to Asian women in Manchester. The volunteer led group promotes work around health, education, social issues and community car and is firmly established and well respected within the communities of Cheetham and Crumpsall. The volunteer who launched the group in 1994 is still head of the group.
Run by and for South Asian women, the beneficiaries are women who have become isolated, vulnerable and at serious risk of exclusion. Within the last 12 months the group has helped in excess of 1000 women and children. Many of the women become volunteers in the wider community. The group encourages further education and training enabling many women to progress to employment as dinner ladies and teaching assistants and others become interpreters, especially within the Courts.
Ghazala Hussain, Mental Health Support Worker at Neesa said: “The Neesa Well Women Drop In Project identifies, confronts and addresses the problems of poverty, inequality, prejudice, and lack of opportunity for Asian women in the inner city area of Manchester, supporting and promoting initiatives within environmentally friendly and self-sustaining systems.
In total twenty-two voluntary groups from across the county collected an engraved, commemorative crystal trophy and a certificate signed by Her Majesty the Queen presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren Smith and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Edith Conn. The ceremony was attended for the first time by Martyn Lewis, former ITN and BBC news broadcaster and journalist, who is Chair of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee.
Commenting on Neesa, The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren Smith, said: “Neesa is a very worthy award winner. They have an inspiring story and it’s both humbling and heart-warming to hear. Neesa helps improve the lives of Asian women in Manchester and is therefore so deserving of this prestigious award, the equivalent to getting an MBE, which champions best practice in volunteering. This group is a shining example of bridging two very different cultures and providing a service and in some cases a veritable lifeline to women who feel trapped and alone with no way of learning the English language or accessing vital health services.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action.”
The closing date for nominations for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2016 is 18 September 2015. For information on how to nominate a group, visit:www.manchesterlieutenancy.org or www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service.
The 22 Greater Manchester winners include:
Access 2 All Areas – Salford
Altrincham & District Schools Musical Festival Association
Beechwood Cancer Care Centre – Stockport
BlueSCI – Trafford
Booth Centre – Manchester
Child & Family Connect Rochdale Contact Centre
Debdale & Woodland Community Association – Gorton
Eccles Community Hall Organisation – Salford
Fortalice Ltd – Bolton
Gorton Horticultural Society
Freedom from Torture North West
Friends of Walkden station – Salford
Neesa Well Women Drop-in Project
Rochdale Volunteer Driver Service
Salford Disabled Motorists
Start in Salford
The Creative Living Centre Volunteers – Prestwich
The Furniture Station – Stockport
The Oasis Centre
The Red Sea Pedestrians
Lowry Volunteers (VIPs) – Salford